Renewal Awaits Us

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Not often do both Palm Sunday and the first day of spring arrive together, but this year they do. Both events represent renewal in God’s scheme of things.

Spring brings rebirth of the earth. Flowers awake from their slumber. Birds build nests for their young. Trees bud out, grass grows, the sun fills the sky more and more often. Rejuvenation is all around us as a sleeping world comes back to life.

Palm Sunday represents reawakening as well. God’s perfect plan would fall into place, the main players ready to act to redeem a world full of sin. One man would die, and thousands more would be transformed.

Rereading the biblical account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mark 11: 1-19), I had to remind myself Jesus knew entering Jerusalem would be the end of his life here. To fulfill the scriptures and finish what he had come to do, he would be crucified. I can only imagine the thoughts going through his mind when he sent the disciples to fetch the young donkey colt waiting for him. Only kings rode animals into town. Just that act alone would raise the suspicions of the Pharisees and Sadducees toward him.

He had to know what conflict would arise when he entered the Temple and overturned tables, sending moneychangers scurrying for cover. He forbid anyone to carry wares through the building. “It is written,” he said, “that my house shall be called a house of prayer to all nations. You have made it a den of thieves.” Now the Sanhedrin plotted to destroy him.

All of the events led to God’s most sacrificial act—the death of his son on the Cross. We who believe have life eternal, all of us forgiven for our sinful natures because of Jesus’ blood shed at Calvary.

As you celebrate the coming of Spring this Sunday, and as you spend time in worship remembering the beginning of the events that led up to Christ’s resurrection on Easter, consider the meaning of renewal in your life. Let God’s miraculous act change you. For you He died.

Acts 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.”

View From Where I Sat

haircut-834280__180The first shriek came from the barber chair beside me. “Daylight Savings Time is this weekend?”

A groan sounded from the corner. “It takes me longer each spring to adjust.”

“Why can’t we skip it?” said a third.

As the stylist cut my hair, I pondered the comments, and found myself in agreement. Losing an hour of sleep every March to gain an hour of daylight makes less and less sense as I age.

I’m not alone.

Somewhere in the wisdom of those who make decisions for everyone else, having an extra hour at the end of the day seemed a great idea, once upon a time. But the fairy tale has ended. Setting our alarms to ring earlier would achieve the same result, and not upset the order of things for everyone else.

My son delivered newspapers at the crack of dawn all through his middle and high school years. Not wanting him to be out there in the dark alone, I walked with him until he grew tall enough to be a formidable foe.

Together we learned that the sun rises as early as four o’clock in the spring. Who knew?

Urban deer love those early hours, often appearing out of nowhere as they seek an unsuspecting garden to plunder.

My son and I enjoyed the quiet. The raccoons strummed sprinklers like harps while the hint of daylight crept over the mountain. Just enough light existed to see where you were headed and yet you could still enjoy the last twinkle of the stars as they withdrew until evening. We didn’t need Daylight Savings Time for that.

God set the sun, moon, and stars in place—the sun to rule by day and the moon and stars to guard the night. He knew how much light we’d need to do what we plan to do. If we need more, or less, we can adjust our awake times. Someone to legislate it is unnecessary.

Psalm 8:3-4 says, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained; What is man that you take thought of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”

I wonder if God laughs at our attempts to control things. He should.

Color Makes My World

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2014 spring 005This week the first of the camellias popped open—bright pink, lacy flowers that cluster among the satiny green leaves. They joined the daffodils who already stand like trumpeters along a parade route, their cheery yellow petals little bursts of sun around the yard.

I’m in love with color—everywhere it appears. And what’s  more 2014 spring 001important, I believe God loves color, too.

When on the third day of creation God blessed the earth with trees, and every kind of seed, and herbs, He looked upon His handiwork and saw that it was good. Fruits and vegetables, flowers and bushes all joined together to give a barren earth a rainbow of hues. When I admire a rare parrot, a flower with a variegated center, a mountain peak covered with trees, rocks and snow, I sense God’s love of beauty. Why else would he say in Luke 12:27 (NIV): “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”

When my daughter first decided on a color for her room—a deep, blue-green shade of teal— I remained cautiously optimistic. What colors would accent it? Could we find accessories? I  needn’t have worried. With window casings trimmed in bright white, the teal tint exploded from the walls. Her readymade bedspread came accented with panels of peach and fuchsia. Framed prints held patches of teal-colored sky, smiling girls in frocks of teal paisley, and  flowers all arrayed in the blue-green shades. The result—glorious color.

I’ve admired portraits in sepia tones—there’s a wide scope of shades within the bronzing of the subject. But without color that world seems stalled, stuck in time. I’ve known a few individuals who are color blind, some not seeing a certain shade, and others missing the entire spectrum. Imagine going outside and everything was black and white. Hues would play out as grays. No green in the trees, no blues in the sky, no riot of tints among the flowers. Just thinking about such a world is depressing.

God knew that. He wanted his creation to worship him. By painting our landscape, He knew he could get us to look up and around at our world and with our uplifted eyes, see Him in the midst of the picture. And in seeing, give thanks.

Is it any wonder the psalmist wrote of his awe of a God who created our world? Psalm 26:7 (KJV): “That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all your wondrous works.”

Thank God for coloring your world.